George Finishes School

Posted on July 7, 2012

My eldest son finished his schooling last week by attending a prom night with all his old established friends, many of them who he will go on to college with in September, so I guess the farewell wasn’t as dramatic and emotional as it might have been. All the GCSE’s are now complete, many of which he is seemingly confident of passing, which is something that fills me with suspicion considering he has spent most of his revision time playing cricket. We are all naturally a bit biased to our children and we like to say how God damn clever they are, but I have trained my brain to realise that many GCSE’s will not, in years to come, be worth wank. Personally, I think that come August, any over the top celebration of passing a few exams any other kid with a pulse and a pen could pass, would be both dangerous and naive.

Looking to the future: George (left) Matt and Alex

The real action starts in September with the ‘A’ levels, by my reckoning, a huge leap from the modern state school exam system which (being a bit of conspiracy theorist) I think is designed to teach people to go just beyond being thick, but never bright enough to ever challenge the elite who run governments, media, law and the banking industry. My son is studying (in between staring at girls) economics, maths, history and politics, four impressive subjects I think, but one also imagines it could well be a million miles away from the ‘painting by numbers’ style GCSE’s. I don’t want to do kids down, they can only pass the GCSE’s that are placed in front of them, but through the cricket, I have got to know a lot of George’s friends and not many of them seem to have been dramatically intellectually challenged by the current system, enhancing the theory that the longer a child is taught by the state, the narrower the mind becomes. I am convinced I came out of the Hurst School in Baughurst thicker and with less ambition than when I went in, with a life at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston beckoning until a series of flukes and bad behaviour got me out of there.

Whether George or his friends can make the adjustment to more testing examination remains to be seen, but it has to be said that in the current employment environment a continuation of education needs to be the route forward, at least in two years time an easing of the recession may have began, unless of course, the speculative banking industry has stolen the rest of the cash and fucked off down to Monaco. I really hope that at the tender age of sixteen his brain has the capacity to take on economics as this is a subject that fascinates me, even if I do struggle to understand things such as libor rates, inflation, hyper-inflation, recession, depression, quantative easing, government bonds, hedge funds, toxic loans and derivatives. I am currently reading a book by Robert Peston called Who Run’s Britain but it is really tough going and I find myself celebrating at the completion of each chapter, it is the sheer volume of numbers that get’s me bewildered.

However, I have learnt some things from the book, one being that you can purchase a huge organisation without much capital by borrowing hundreds of millions against it’s assets, then, providing the company fulfils it’s interest repayments and makes a paper profit (despite the huge debt it is now saddled with) you can pay your wife a huge dividend payment in the Cayman Islands. I have also learnt that Phillip Green is nasty, ruthless bastard, but I suppose I sort of knew that anyway. If my son can get to a level with economics where he can understand how it all works, he will, by my own admission, be a better man than me, plus he may well be able to find himself a career that is worth getting up in the morning for. Whatever happens in the coming years, a walk around Basingstoke town centre on a week day, whilst being utterly depressing, also offers an insight in to the competition for young people moving in to the job market. Any youth who can keep himself above the vacant masses of Britain’s provincial town centres should at least have half a chance of getting on in life by hook or crook.

At least, thank God, one career that he is not taking is the Army, a one way route to coming back from an ill conceived war in a pine overcoat. No one gets treated worse than soldiers, thrown in to alien terrain at a tender age, told to fight a war they don’t even understand, then, if they survive, sent home to a redundancy package courtesy of cut backs enforced so bankers can maintain their houses in Notting Hill. Young soldiers are naive and insanely brave in equal measure and whilst I have nothing but admiration for someone who could take a bullet or a car bomb for the greater cause, I just don’t get what the greater cause is. If it wasn’t for excellent charities like the British legion and Help for Heroes a lot of these lads would be left to rot without a future by governments who are more interested in protecting their mates in the financial sector from criminal charges. What happens to the 20,000 poor sods who have been given redundancy packages this week, I shudder to think.

I couldn’t live with being a grieving parent left with one dead son, one medal and a letter from David Cameron to say how brave he was, the thought of it makes me feel physically sick. The song below sums it up really, it shows nothing really changes, it is thirty three years old.

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